First of all, what is a Cuban mojo anyway?
It’s a sauce or condiment that’s fondly used in, well… Cuban cuisine. You can either use it as a dip or a marinade. It works great both ways. I think the blend of sour orange, oregano, and garlic really comes through in the flavor of whatever you put it in.
However, there’s really no one way to make a Cuban mojo. Virtually every Cuban family has their own recipe. Heck, even non-Cubans have their own versions. It’s really not surprising though, especially considering how hard it can be to find sour orange in certain parts of the world.
On that note, we’re focusing on recipes using marinated pork. These feature sandwiches, crock pot recipes, roasted pork, and several other delicious Cuban mojo marinated pork recipes that you can try at home today. Let’s get to it!
11 easy and delicious pork recipes with Cuban mojo marinade
1. Cuban-style roast pork
This recipe is from Michele Kerr Fielding at AllRecipes. Instead of sour orange, she uses a blend of orange juice and lime juice to somewhat replicate the flavor. But, to make the marinade, you first have to grind garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander, and salt and pepper into a paste using a mortar and pestle.
The recipe doesn’t mention this but if you’re one of those people who hate coriander (cilantro), you can always use parsley instead.
When you’ve made the paste, that’s when you mix in the orange and lime juice. Marinate pork shoulders in the mixture, roast, then eat.
2. Slow cooker Cuban mojo pork
I’ve talked to people about slow cooker recipes and a lot of those who don’t like them usually have the same reason: the lack of browning. With Dinner then Dessert’s recipe, however, that won’t be a problem.
Here, you’ll first have to brown all sides of the pork shoulder on a hot pan prior to finishing it on the Crock Pot with the Cuban mojo marinade. When it’s done, you can also add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Personally, I think this recipe goes well with tacos but to each his own, I guess.
3. (Another) slow cooker Cuban mojo pork recipe
I mean, why not? Slow cooker recipes are easy and with pork shoulders, which are supposedly tougher, the meat always comes tender and bursting with flavor.
Having said that, this recipe from House of Nash Eats uses a lot of the same ingredients as the previous recipe. The main differences, to me, is that this recipe adds mint to its list of herbs, uses olive oil instead of canola oil, and the browning takes place in the oven after the slow cooker, instead of browning it in a pan before.
Oh, and by the way, a food processor makes quick work of all the herbs but if you don’t have one, chopping them up with a knife works, too.
4. (The FINAL) slow cooker Cuban mojo pork
Well, at least on this list. There are more slow cooker recipes just floating around but I think what I have here are some of the best.
Nevertheless, this recipe is similar to the previous one in that the browning takes place in the oven after being cooked in the crockpot. However, this recipe also isn’t as salty but because it uses more orange juice and the zests of both the lime and the orange, it’s also sweeter and zestier.
Check out the full recipe on Lemon Blossoms.
5. Cuban grilled pork (lechon asado)
Lechon was my grandma and grandad’s business when I was growing up, so I basically grew up eating it. Our family’s recipe is way different from this version from Epicurious though.
Ours used a lot (and I mean A LOT) of soy sauce, spring onions, and lemongrass whereas this recipe uses authentic mojo criollo — sour orange, oregano, garlic, and all. You can either use a flavor injector to marinate your pork or simply use your knife to score the meat and help it absorb the marinade better. Either way works fine. Plus, the grilling process adds another layer of smoked, somewhat charred flavor which I think tastes great.
6. Mojo Cuban pork roast
This next recipe is from RecipeTin Eats but she caught her inspiration from the Jon Favreau movie “Chef”. The marinade uses the same exact ingredients but she roasts her pork at a lower temperature for a longer time, voiding the need for a meat thermometer. Plus, she doesn’t waste the marinade and boils it back in a saucepan along with the drippings to make the most amazing sauce.
7. Mojo pork Cuban sandwich
It seems the movie Chef has inspired many Cuban mojo marinated pork recipes, so here’s another one. This one comes from The Sauce by All Things BBQ and it honestly might be one of my favorite recipes on this list.
You see, I love using my grill and I love sandwiches. The marinated pork shoulders are great with ham and cheese while the pickles and mustard complement the flavors of the mojo marinade very well. Slap them all in beautifully buttered baguettes and you’ve got yourself a crazy good sandwich.
8. Grilled Cuban mojo (marinated pork tenderloin)
Unlike most of the recipes on this list, Saving Room for Dessert’s recipe uses pork tenderloins instead of pork shoulders. As it’s a more tender cut of meat, it doesn’t take long to cook it. In comparison, it only takes about an hour to grill this recipe compared to slow cooked recipes that take about 8 hours on the crock pot.
However, to really get all those delectable Cuban flavors, you still need to marinate your tenderloins overnight.
9. Cuban pork tenderloin
Welp. Here’s another tenderloin recipe for ya. The difference is that this isn’t grilled. Rather, it’s browned on the stovetop and finished in the oven.
Similarly, this recipe from Delicious Little Bites takes relatively less time to cook because it uses tenderloin. Also, their marinades are actually pretty similar. So, if you want to use your oven, this recipe works great. If it’s the grill, choose the previous recipe. In any case, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your pork. You’ll know if it’s ready if it reaches 150℉.
10.The Cuban mojo pork special
You know what makes this special? It’s not just pork. It’s an entire meal. I’m talking about plantain fries, rice, beans, pineapples, the whole nine yards. If it’s a special occasion, you might even sneak in a shot (a few shots?) of tequila and a Cuban cigar in there. (I’m not saying I recommend it but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun sometimes, right?)
Anyhow, you can find all the details to this amazing dish at Half Baked Harvest.
11. Cuban mojo marinated roast pork
I found this recipe on Bear Naked Food. While most Cuban mojo recipes tend to hover around being sour and/or tangy, I like how Rachelle, the owner of the blog, steered her version towards the sweeter side of the spectrum.
How, you ask? Simple.
Adding brown sugar to the recipe and having more orange than lime. These are easy tweaks, really, but ones that will cater more to those of you with sweet teeth.
Here’s a little recap before I let you leave:
Sour oranges are generally hard to find but an easy substitute would be a blend of orange and lime. Their juices (and sometimes their zests) mimic the flavors very well. Also, while these marinades use similar ingredients, some are saltier, sweeter, zestier, sourer, and tangier than others because of their ratios and, perhaps, other additional ingredients.
The cooking method makes a big difference, too, in my opinion. For instance, roasted pork shoulders tend to work better when sliced while slow cooked recipes are better pulled. Although, my personal preference would be grilled Cuban mojo marinated pork recipes. I live for that smoky flavor and charred exterior. But, I leave it to you to find what suits you best.
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